Photos by Karianne Flaathen
By Anton Chekhov, Adapted by Annie Baker
Starring (double cast): Harry Groener, Larry Pressman, Rebecca Mozo, Linda Park, Rebekah Tripp, Shannon Lee Clair, Anne Gee Byrd, Mimi Cozzens, Arye Gross, Don R. McManus, Jeffrey Nordling, Andrew Borba, Morlan Higgins, Clay Wilcox, Dawn Didawick, Lynn Milgrim, Paul Baird, John Allee
Set: Michael Raiford; Costumes: Jocelyn Hublau; Lights: Leigh Allen; Sound: John Zalewski
“This “Vanya,” sensitively directed by Robin Larsen, suggests, we haven’t changed as much in the intervening century as he hoped.
Larsen chose a new adaptation by the Pulitzer- and Obie-winning playwright Annie Baker. Baker’s dialogue is naturalistic, full of breaks and stammers, and her colloquial word choices are punchy…
The tone hovers in a mysterious territory between tragedy and comedy, where laughter is always mixed with tears; Larsen often hits the perfect frequency.”
THIS 116-YEAR OLD RUSSIAN PLAY PULSES WITH 21ST-CENTURY URGENCY
“In the hands of a less able cast and director, all this lethargy and squandered potential could have led to a production that engulfs the audience in torpor as well, as plenty of dismal Chekhovian stagings prove. But Robin Larsen’s lively staging reveals the humor and urgency of this 116-year-old play. She is aided by playwright Annie Baker’s contemporary translation, crafted from a literal Russian translation, which lends warmth and relevance to the language.
Yet many of the play’s key moments, serious though they are, tremble on the brink of hilarity.
But Larsen never allows these scenes to lose their poignancy.”
“The West Coast premiere of Annie Baker’s translation of Anton Chekhov’s classic UNCLE VANYA receives a brilliant mounting from the Antaeus Theatre Company. Robin Larsen directs her talented cast in a steady, flowing pace with just enough quiet moments to contrast the volatile, high emotional ones.”
KCRW Opening The Curtain:
“The strength of the production begins with the beautiful adaptation by playwright Annie Baker. Ms. Baker won the 2014 Pulitzer for her play The Flick.
Through Baker’s translation and director Robin Larsen’s insightful direction — the caricatures of the drunk country doctor and hapless Vanya give way to something more visceral. A doctor who drinks vodka becomes less comic device and more a painful, relatable truth.”
Gia on the Move:
“It is hands-down the most highly refreshing and anthropologically sensical update of a classical piece that has surfaced in Los Angeles and adapted for stage by an intimate house. This is the show for all people. It retains the reverence for Chekhov’s literary and ethnic culture, and suredly decodes the text for younger audiences for maybe even the first time, in a way they will be able to “get”. Every bit of this production hails an uncomplicated grace upon the story from direction, to actors, to set design and the added musical elements that make this production absolutely special.”
“In a masterful production that flawlessly unites Baker’s vital rendition of the work with an impeccable and passionate cast, Antaeus’ Uncle Vanya imparts audiences with an opportunity to examine their lives, if only to provide a comfort (no matter how melancholy) that we are not so different from our ancestors, nor from each other in today’s chaotic and fast-paced world.
To say that Antaeus’ production of Uncle Vanya was one of the most impactful and phenomenal evenings of theatre that I have ever witnessed would still be short of the high praise that it deserves. For those in the SoCal area, I implore you to see Antaeus’ production before its close, as it will undoubtedly resonate with today’s audiences and is, in my humble opinion, a necessity to see.”
2016 Stage Raw Award Nominations:
Adaptation: Annie Baker
Huffington Post “Top 10 Productions of 2015”